Air pollution caused over a million deaths across Africa in 2019, research finds

The enormous human and economic toll of breathing toxic air points to other systemic failures which could worsen lives in numerous other ways, writes Harry Cockburn

Friday 08 October 2021 01:10
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<p>Smoke rises over a port in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa</p>

Smoke rises over a port in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa

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Air pollution caused 1.1 million deaths across Africa in 2019, largely driven by household pollution from indoor cooking stoves, while outdoor pollution also increased, according to the most far-reaching examination of the problem across the continent to date.

Air pollution is costing African economies billions of dollars and there is also a “devastating” correlation in loss in the intellectual development of Africa’s children, the researchers led by Boston College in the US and UN Environment programme said.

Of the 1.1 million deaths from air pollution, household air pollution accounted for 700,000 fatalities, while increased levels of outdoor pollution claimed around 400,000 lives.

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